Date of this Version
Fisheries Research 154 (2014) 172–178
Spatial layout of waterbodies and waterbody size can affect a creel clerk’s ability to intercept anglers for interviews and to accurately count anglers, which will affect the accuracy and precision of estimates of effort and catch. This study aimed to quantify angling effort and catch across a spatially complex system of19 small (<100 ha) lakes, the Fremont lakes. Total (±SE) angling effort (hours) on individual lakes ranged from 0 (0) to 7,137 (305). Bank anglers utilized 18 of the 19 lakes, and their mean (±SE) trip lengths(hours) ranged from 0.80 (0.31) to 7.75 (6.75), depending on the waterbody. In contrast, boat anglers utilized 14 of the 19 lakes, and their trip lengths ranged from 1.39 (0.24) to 4.25 (0.71), depending on the waterbody. The most sought fishes, as indexed by number of lakes on which effort was exerted, were anything (17 of 19 lakes), largemouth bass Micropterus salmoides (15 of 19 lakes), and channel catfish Ictalurus punctatus (13 of 19 lakes). Bluegill Lepomis machrochirus, crappie Pomoxis spp., and largemouth bass were caught most frequently across the lakes, but catch rates varied considerably by lake. Of the1,138 parties interviewed, most parties (93%) visited a single lake but there were 77 (7%) parties that indicated that they had visited multiple lakes during a single day. The contingent of parties that visited more than one lake a day were primarily (87%) bank anglers.. The number of lake-to-lake connections made by anglers visiting more than one waterbody during a single day was related to catch rates and total angling effort. The greater resolution that was achieved with a lake specific creel survey at Fremont lakes revealed a system of lakes with a large degree of spatial variation in angler effort and catch that would be missed by a coarser, system-wide survey that did not differentiate individual lakes.